Teamsters workers demonstrating against Associated Wholesale Grocers in Springfield, MO, have been accused of violating a restraining order
they agreed to last week.
Roswil Inc., which owns Ramey and Price Cutter grocery stores supplied by AWG, filed a petition on Tuesday asking the judge to hold Teamsters Local 245 in contempt for violating the restraining order. Roswil says Teamsters blocked entrances to its stores, trespassed, vandalized stores, harassed store employees, and had more than the allotted four people passing out handbills at one entrance.
A day after Roswil filed that petition, Teamsters Local 245 business manager Jim Kabell was charged with trespassing, property damage and disorderly conduct. Kabell allegedly violated the restraining order when he went into the Ramey Supermarket in Monett, MO, and loaded a shopping cart with nearly $100 worth of produce, ice cream and bread - then piled cans and other heavy items on top. The grocer's attorney says $30 worth of groceries were so badly damaged they could not be returned to the shelves. The ice cream was melted and the produce in the cart was smashed.
A hearing on the charges against Kabell is scheduled for May 2. The misdemeanor counts carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Kabell and the union must appear in court April 19 for a hearing on the earlier Roswell petition.
Associated Wholesale Grocers stopped using Teamsters warehouse workers and truck drivers at its Springfield and Kansas City, KS, locations when the union contract ran out April 1, switching instead to non-union outside contractors. The union claims the company did not negotiate in good faith and has been picketing AWG warehouses and demonstrating at stores served by the cooperative, asking customers to boycott the stores.